Beware the Boom in Stock Buybacks

They can mask transfers of wealth away from shareholders.

Executive stock options? Though originally billed as a way to align management and shareholder interests, they are now reviled by investors as a way for management to quietly loot the companies they are paid to run. When done in excess they massively dilute shareholder value over time. They also encourage short-termism and a fixation on raising the company’s stock price in the short term at the expense of planning for the company’s long-term future.

Along the same lines, share repurchases have become popular in recent decades as a tax-efficient alternative to cash dividends. Earnings paid out as dividends are taxed twice, at both the corporate and individual investor levels. But when a company uses that same cash to buy back its own shares in the open market, it can boost earnings per share without creating a taxable event.

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Charles Lewis Sizemore
Chief Investment Officer, Sizemore Capital Managaement LLC

Charles Lewis Sizemore, CFA is the Chief Investment Officer of Sizemore Capital Management LLC, a registered investment advisor based in Dallas, Texas. Charles is a frequent guest on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and Fox Business News, has been quoted in Barron's Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post and is a frequent contributor to Yahoo Finance, Forbes Moneybuilder, GuruFocus, MarketWatch and InvestorPlace.com.